Looking for TV Service? Shop Around, Experts Say

Like picking a new television, there's no shortage of options while looking for the best satellite or cable deal.

With the deadline for all-digital TV just more than a month away, many people are signing up for cable or satellite service for the first time. Others who got new HDTVs for the holidays are also looking for deals.

Gautam Roy, of Fort Worth, said he wants to save a little money on his monthly television bill.

"We have cable currently, and I was just shopping around," he said.

Jeremy Potter, who sells packages from a number of providers at Best Buy, said people should consider a number of factors.

If more HD channels are important to a customer, satellite clobbers cable, he said.

"DirecTV and Dish Network have launched multimillion and billion dollar contracts to send these satellites into orbit to give them tons of new channels," Potter said.

But for customers who want to bundle their television service with phone and Internet service, cable and phone companies have the edge over satellite.

"If you're going to do phone, and you're going to do Internet, and you're going to do TV, you can basically get a package that no one can touch," Potter said.

He said many people don't know some providers will sell one channel at a time.

"You'd be surprised, for a dollar or $2, you can add whatever channel you want a la carte," Potter said.

He said shoppers should be careful with long-term commitments, but not be afraid of them.

"Contracts are not that scary," Potter said. "A lot of times, if you sign a contract, you get more bonuses than you can get anywhere else."

He also said people shouldn't be afraid to call their current provider, who might offer a better deal to keep their business.

"There are a lot of options if they just call and talk to their provider," Potter said.

Roy said he is still looking for a better deal. Frustrated by all the choices, he'll stick with cable for now, he said.

Cable and satellite aren't the only game in town anymore. Phone companies such as Verizon and AT&T now offer TV service in many neighborhoods, and experts suggest customers also compare their prices and plans.

Contact Us